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NH Physical Activity Lead says BC found more creative ways to keep kids active during pandemic

A new report from Stats Can says physical activity among youth saw a sharp decline.

On average, youth saw two fewer hours of physical activity per week on average in the fall of 2020 when compared to the same period in 2018.

Gloria Fox is the Physical Activity Lead for Northern Health who says while Ontario and Quebec endured some of the biggest declines, BC did well to find more creative ways to stay active.

“So, when group and organized activity was restricted, some communities and folks were able to change course and stay active in different ways. There was a lot of moving outdoors or online.”

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“I believe in the north we were quite fortunate that there were some things going on. I know that there was a physical activity and a physical literacy project that Engage Sport North was doing with a number of schools across the north.”

She added while the health and safety measures kept people safe, they didn’t come without a cost.

“Youth were limited in their social opportunities and spent more time at home and likely being sedentary. This is one of the unintended consequences of the safety measures that were put in place. Now it is up to us to tip the scales in the other direction.”

“So that included the cancellation of a number of different organized and extra-curricular activities, which based on this report, I would say is a good chunk of physical activity that youth engage in. Having those programs cancelled had an impact.”

Fox is curious to see the next set of data that comes if that dip in activity is still there or not.

In addition, the percentage of youth meeting the Canadian physical activity recommendation for children and youth (60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity) dropped from 51% in the fall of 2018 to 37% in the same period of 2020.

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